Justin Tranter (‘We’re Here’ songwriter) on composing ‘I Am America’ for LGBTQ reality series [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

Justin Tranter has created a new Pride anthem in the form of “I Am America,” the theme song to the HBO reality series “We’re Here.” Writing the song with Shea Diamond, Tranter was excited to work on an upbeat song that celebrates queer pride, taking inspiration from the HBO series, which features drag queens Shangela, Eureka and Bob the Drag Queen bringing drag culture to small towns. “This was the first full-on party song that we did but what’s so great is it’s this joyous celebration,” Tranter says in an exclusive new interview for Gold Derby. Because they typically write raw, meaningful songs together, it was a treat for the pair to write something so danceable. “What I love about it is that she still gets to be Shea, she still gets to be a proud Black trans woman who writes these amazing lyrics but we got to do it in this party celebration classic old school dance track.” Watch the exclusive video interview here.

The lyrics to “I Am America” are all about empowering those in marginalized communities to recognize that they are as much a part of America as anyone else, and to be joyful. In that way, it is the perfect fit for “We’re Here,” which allows those in small towns who don’t have a local drag scene to come out of their shell and embrace who they are, authentically. Tranter stresses how the series is able to demonstrate the tough but loving conversations people should be having in their communities. “If someone is saying something that truly puts your humanity in danger, you don’t have to be nice to them,” Tranter points out, “but if it is just a conversation, someone’s trying to understand and someone’s trying to learn, even if they slip up and say some stupid shit, as long as their intentions are right I think it’s important that we have these loving conversations.”

Tranter is also one of the songwriters behind Selena Gomez‘s smash hit “Lose You to Love Me,” which eventually became her first no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. They recall the songwriting process as a reunion between Gomez, Julia Michaels, Mattias Larsson, Robin Fredriksson and themself. “It was the first time the five of us were in a room in a long time and Selena just had a lot to catch us up on, to be honest, and was telling us about her life and her healing and her growth and the work she’s doing on herself so the song just came right from her,” Tranter states. With songs like “I Am America” and “Lose You to Love Me,” Tranter could be well on their way to more award success, following nominations at the Golden Globes and the Grammys.

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